By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The federal government has agreed to pay N50 billion as compensation to families of victims maimed or killed by abandoned mines during the Biafra war.
The government also agreed to take positive action by removing the remaining unexploded military ordinances such as landmines, locally fabricated weapons and a stock pile of bombs spotted in about 1, 317 identified locations in the three zones.
Areas affected included: 11 states, parts of which are in the South East, South South and parts of the North Central that became battle grounds during the Nigeria civil war of 1966 and 1970.
Apart from settling the N50 billion claim, the government also agreed to pay the contractors handling the projects a separate N38 billion to carry out total de-mining, destruction of bombs as well as rebuilding of public structures destroyed, conclude mine center activities including provision of alternative classrooms in communities where schools were used as storage areas for mines.
This was part of the settlement adopted at the ECOWAS Court in Abuja yesterday, in the out of court settlement reached in a suit filed by Chief Vincent Agu and nineteen others against the Federal Government with five others as defendants.
Before the matter was brought to the court, the government through the Ministry of Defence had commissioned a landmine clearing firm to pick-up the left-over military ordinances but work stopped midway as a result of the large number of abandoned unexploded bombs discovered and the initial refusal of the government